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LESSONS! Global Citizen Festival: Lessons Here & There

By Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

Ghana witnessed one of the biggest outdoor events over the weekend and there’s been several talking points emanating from the event.

From production, performances, to who was brought who on stage to the President of Ghana receiving some jeers from a section of the crowd, it’s been such a week inundated with varied chatter on what transpired at the Black Star/Independence Square.

As we are still reeling over the grand spectacle that was unfurled last weekend, it would also be disingenuous on our part as an industry not be pick valuable lessons from the festival and try and better our space of events, production, performances and everything else.

It is really possible that we can have major concerts like that of Global Citizen Festival and not have any flaws.

There are quite a number of lessons to pick from but for the sake of lack of space, let’s stick with investment, organization, discipline, and timing among others.

Investment

From the gigantic stage to the exquisite set up to everything else that went into the promotion of the show, the level of production and the international artistes billed, there’s little dispute on the sort of investment that was injected into the Festival.

Global Poverty Project, owners of the Global Citizen Festival run a well-financed Non-Governmental Organization with connections to various governments and the United Nations – making the festival one of the most expensive.

Most of the technical guys and assistants used for the festival are Ghanaians, led by Kojo Poku and Edem Lumor among others – and pulled off one of the best outdoor shows ever staged in Ghana.

The fact is; the likes of Big Ideas, Charterhouse, Image Bureau, Silicon House, 3Music and others have the men, the expertise and knowledge to pull events like Global Citizen but there’s one major setback; funding.

Clearly, there’s expertise, there are amazing performers, a music-loving public and a convivial environment to hold as many big concerts as possible. All we need is the adequate investment to have such a stage, set up and everything else that comes with staging a mammoth concert like what we witnessed.

Organization

The kind of organization that was exhibited with the Global Citizen Festival was top tier. From the day Accra was announced one of 2 host cities till the last performing act finished his set, everything, every move was properly planned and expertly executed.

For a moment, the feeling was that, the publicity was low in months leading to the event, but that was a wrong mindset. They had all avenues for marketing covered – starting with that massive online promotion, then traditional media took over and then with days to the event, the euphoria kicked in.

The organization on the day of the event was exemplary – from set up, to strict entry rules, security, strict performance rules, to the sharing and refilling of water bottles to refresh patrons. Amazing stuff!

Security was adequate and properly managed – from car park to the main event and on stage, no room was left for any unnecessary skirmish.

To have such an event and not have complaints of safety and security to bad performances tell of how grand the event was put together.

Discipline

One cannot recount how our artistes were this disciplined to any of our home-based events. For Global Citizen Festival, our A-list acts were humble, listened and complied with all directives without squealing.

Ghanaian artistes were not late for dress rehearsal, they were early to their hotels and of course, they were on time for their performances on the night.

Even Stonebwoy had no qualms opening the show as early as 8pm. In fact, from his entry to exit, he gave one of the best performances on the night.

If our artistes could exercise such restraint, tolerance and control and listen to foreign event organizers, then moving forward, they must exhibit the same form of discipline to our local events.

 Timing

One of the biggest banes for our events is time. We hardly stick to the advertised time for the commencement and closure for most of our high profile shows. That was not the case with Global Citizen Festival.  The show kicked off officially at 8pm with Stonebwoy as opening act and closed before 1am with Usher as headlining act – including all the various speeches and commitments expressed by World Leaders.

For a show produced live for TV and streamed across the world, the handling and execution of production was world class.

The VGMAs and 3Music Awards are produced for TV too yet, the Red Carpet segment for such shows commence late in the night, forcing such shows to close very late – not to mention the technical challenges that fraught the events.

We know it is possible to have a blemish-less event like Global Citizen in Ghana; it is about to our home-based events having enough resources, having proper planning and handling and effective execution.

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